If you’re single and meet someone ‘out’ in real life, you know how important introductions are. If you’re introverted, introducing yourself to a stranger can be a major barrier. It doesn’t always come intuitively, especially if you’re shy or out of practice. How to introduce yourself successfully and confidently takes conscious awareness and pre-planning. The good news is once you get this introduction ironed out, at least the blueprint, you’re good to go. You can take the formula with you anywhere. This formula is what we’ll go over here.
Construct your story.
Your story is important. This is stressed in articles, advice, blogs, the audience doesn’t care as much about who you are or what you’re selling (in this case, you’re selling yourself) as much as they care about your story: job interviews, running a business, selling products, even social media, focus on the backstory.
Today I read a story about a strip club bartender: the job provided first-hand observation about human behavior, dancers of strip clubs, and those who frequent them, mixed in with some interesting strip club stories. The dancer who made the most money every night was the one who crafted and sold the perfect story. Over and over, every single night she sold the same perfectly crafted story – “It was her first night dancing, she was a bit nervous, paying her way through college.” She refined her story, realized it work, and stuck to it. (PS. If you like stories like this, they cross my feeds daily, and I post some of them in my monthly subscription)
There is a huge lesson to be learned here – if you’re single, you’re basically selling yourself and your story every time you meet a potential date – Craft your story, refine it, repeat.
Stories are intriguing.
Zuckerberg, Bezos, Musk, Jobs, the presidents of the United States – their personal stories make headlines along with their professional story. Tabloids exist for stories. Entire companies are built around stories. If you have a product to sell, the details are in the story. Perfect your presentation and you’re golden.
You need a story too! If you’re single, on dating sites, going to events, trying to meet people out – at the coffee shop, bar, dog park, bookstore, you need a story.
If you ran into someone today, what is your story?
Take a minute, really, think it over. Introduce yourself to me right now …. (suspenseful music plays……)
Hi I’m ______.
I’m here because _____.
I’m doing _____.
First of all, you already share something in common – you’re both at the same place. This is a good place to start. Use it as your base. Plus, it’s local and familiar, one or both of you may frequent, it provides a doorway of familiarity for connection. If you’re out casually and you don’t know the person, your intro should be neutral, somewhat light, maybe funny, with a twist.
An example –
Hi, I’m Jami, I’m here (at this coffee shop) because there is a poetry reading this weekend and I want to get the best seat in the house.
Or, I’m here (at the grocery store) because the whole country is stocking up on toilet paper and I don’t want to be the last in line.
A formula to pull this off
1- Introduce yourself
2- State why you’re there
3- Add a twist
Your ‘twist’ can be a joke, it can be real life, you can make something up. Or, simply, I’m doing some pre-planning for this coming weekend, etc etc.
That’s it. This makes your story.
If your conversation goes further, you do need to prepare for questions such as, ‘what do you do, for fun, for work, etc,’ and this is where your story really begins to matter. CRAFT IT NOW.
Let’s recap the formula –
I am _____.
I’m here because _____.
This ______ is why you want to know me better.
Hi, I’m Jami, my cats kicked me out of the house. I’m in business development and help women and entrepreneurs start business, grassroots, micro finance, non profits, that sort of thing.
Now, is all that💯 % true and legit …..sure, it IS, but my bigger story is a lot more than that. A short recap is much better than a full rundown. It’s succinct, it’s not TOO MUCH information, but it has enough information that serves as tangents someone can respond to. It’s a fine balance between not enough info, info that is somewhat interesting, and too much info.
some ‘well-rounded options’ opens doors for connection
Let’s look at your story
1- Name – this is obvious, what’s more important or impactful is HOW you present your name and yourself.
- You can offer a handshake (very formal and suggested only if you’re at an event).
- Or my fave, just come right out and say, I’m Jami, by the way.
If I’m interested in someone, I like to get my name out there right away because it sort of gives off the vibe of ‘okay, this person might be interested in taking the conversation further,’ and if the other person isn’t, it will de-escalate pretty quickly.
2- I’m here because _______.
Don’t leave this out. This is probably one of the most important parts because it gives you both something IN COMMON to talk about . If you’re shy, you may need to practice this, practice until you can say it out without even thinking about it.
Practice every time you go somewhere, prepare to meet someone every time you go out, and don’t forget to incorporate an interesting element.
‘Interesting element’ ideas
If it’s a coffee shop – comment on the coffee, teas, sandwiches, eco cups, travel mugs, paper straws….
“Sure, they have great pour overs, but it’s their blueberry muffins that really get me. They’re my mid-day pick me up. Ever tried one?”
“I’m here testing all the bear claws in the city, I’m on a mission to find the best one.”
Those might be jokes, but this works in your favor two ways: they’re likely not expecting an answer such as that, it sets you apart from the others, and it’s even MORE FODDER to talk about.
If you’re introverted or out of practice, this might feel impossible. It felt that way for me, too, for the longest time. I practiced. A lot. It was my job for a while. Practice practice practice. That’s why I say practice every single time you go out. Practice in the shower, the car, when you’re standing in line. Rehearse. I guarantee it will get easier and you’ll spout off answers without even thinking about it.
If someone asks ‘what do you do for work’
If you just met this person out and about, unless you have a super interesting job or work somehow specifically fits the conversation, answer with something you LOVE TO DO. Throw in a euphemism, answer with a fun hobby, or respond with something you do FOR FUN. Work is just work and you’ll likely slip into recital mode which can come across as flat and boring.
When you talk about your passion, your eyes will light up and you’ll feel more confident.
If your passion is obscure and seemingly mundane to you, such as collecting stamps, SAY IT. The more unique and off-the-wall it is, the more likely you are to find receptivity to it. Think about this, if it’s uncommon, it leaves room for interest to build which is followed by questions. Research on speed dating shows the more unusual a hobby or interest, the greater chance people had connecting to another.
Your passion might be taking a daily walk. Or checking daily stocks. It doesn’t have to be jumping off mountains or whatever you think is cool, the excitement is the WHY. Think about why you do it, and include that as your story. Anything you are passionate about will come across that way and passion is contagious.
Just get out there and do it.
All this might seem like a massive undertaking. But really, most people aren’t going to pick you apart with a fine tooth comb. Just get out there and do it. You can practice solo. Or you can practice with me. Or you can practice conversing on dating sites before you even go live. The key to successfully pulling it off is practice.